Frangipanii's make great gifts! - Dec 13, 2012

Dear gardening friends

I am not sure you are getting time to read this with so much happening at this time of year.

We are all starting to smell like Christmas trees here due to the sap from the cut Christmas trees.

Some of us have never smelt better.

I hope your house smells like Christmas too.

Have you noticed the W.A Flowering gums are starting to flower in gardens around Macarthur? The original variety grew to about 10 metres high but the new dwarf grafted varieties only grow about 4 metres high. I took a photo of an orange flowering variety called “Baby Orange” growing in the car park at Macarthur Tavern. You may ask what was I doing there? "Baby Orange" is covered in the most spectacular bright orange flowers. You almost have to wear sunnies to look at this plant. These dwarf growing gums are perfectly suited for today’s courtyard style gardens.

Dwarf growing grafted gums come in at least 4 colours including Scarlet, Crimson, Fairy floss pink and Orange. Because they are grafted you don’t have to wait 10 years for them to flower. The plants we have in stock are actually flowering now! If you are going to plant one dunk it in a bucket of water for 5 minutes before you plant it. They need to be watered every day for at least 6 weeks to get them established. They are not cheap so we want you to have success.

Once these trees are established they will survive on rain fall only but they are very temperamental for the first 3 months. If you are planting one make sure you mix some Greengold Planting compost in with your existing soil. Don’t let the grass grow around the base of it.

They do make nice Christmas presents for the gardener who seems to have everything.

Crepe Myrtles are starting to flower to herald the start of summer. Crepe Myrtle grows beautifully in the Macarthur district so plant one with confidence. The Indian Summer Crepe Myrtles are the best because these are resistant to powdery mildew. This fungus disease can stop the buds from opening so you would be foolish to plant the old fashion variety.

Indian Summer Crepe Myrtles flower for around 100 days. We had about 30 left over from last year so we potted them up into 300mm pots and now they are at least 1800mms high. We are selling them for just $49.99 so they are great value if you want a tree in a hurry!

I took a nice photo of one growing out the front of a house in Macarthur Gardens. This will help shade the house from the western sun in time and doesn’t it look great?

Crepe Myrtles get a beautiful smooth trunk that also becomes a feature.

Agapanthus may seem a bit boring now but if you have a hot dry spot where other plants might struggle Agapanthus will thrive. Once you have one they can be divided up and soon you will have more. They look fantastic planted near Jacaranda trees. Agapanthuses were once pest proof but they do get attacked by Mealy Bug now. If the foliage is stunted, yellowing and distorted you will need to spray your plant with Confidor. Tablets are now available too for up to 6 months protection.

I was in Manly on the weekend and Frangipani’s are starting to flower on the surrounding hills. We always sell heaps of Frangipanis over summer because people just love the perfumed flowers. Frangipani’s love a hot sunny position. They grow best up against a north facing brick wall. They can also be grown in a large Terracotta pot.

The red flowering variety is always the most sought after so Simon has ordered more of these.

We always buy them before the season starts because then we get the biggest plants from our supplier. The plants are up to my hips and they are all starting to flower now.

If you are a collector we have some real beauties including Tangerine dreams (bicolourered), Byron Bay Rose, Pink Blush, Pink Flamingo and yellow centered white.

These make fantastic Christmas presents because they look sensational when we gift wrap them. Prices start at $29.99 less your Garden Club Discount so they are great value.

Our Angels Trumpet plants are flowering in the nursery. You won’t find these in the big sheds. Angels Trumpet has huge trumpet like flowers throughout the warmer months. They like the same conditions as Frangipani’s. They grow into a small tree and they will give your garden the wow factor! They have poisonous foliage so don’t plant one if you have horses or cows that can lean over the fence. But the leaves can get eaten by caterpillars so that doesn’t seem to make sense? Spray with Yates Success for caterpillar protection.

This is a collector’s plant so supply is always limited.

I had some great news at home this week. You may remember that Dan’s birth tree got damaged by the wind and we thought it would have to be replaced. Well Ben Abeleven was able to prune all the damaged branches and reduce the size of the tree. In the next 6 months we are hoping the wound in the trunk recovers. Ben Abeleven did his apprenticeship with us before completing an Arboriculture course at TAFE. He has since worked in Europe where they would rather save a tree than chop it down. Dan was so happy that Ben saved his tree.

If you are looking for a plant to give to a friend for Christmas come and see us. We have beautiful indoor plants like Madonna Lilys and Anthuriums. These plants are easy to grow and they flower throughout the warmer months. We give wrap them for free so they really are great gifts to go!

We still have NSW Christmas bush covered in red Christmas bells. These really are the original aussie Christmas gift and they will add colour to your living room over the Christmas period. Once Christmas is over they can be planted in your garden or potted up using native potting mix. Some of our local businesses are buying them for all their staff as a Christmas present.

I have spoken passionately before about the Dramm Rainwand. We use these in the nursery because they water plants so much better than every other nozzle. Sometimes my staff doubt my love of the Dramm Rainwand so recently Russell and I did a test to see how long it took to fill a bucket using various nozzles. We kept the hose going and just changed the nozzles over by kinking the hose.The results were amazing. The Dramm 30" Rainwand filled a bucket 22% faster than the next best nozzle.

So what does this mean?

If you use a Dramm Rainwand your plants will get 22% more water without you having to spend more time in the garden. The unique shower head means the water comes out soft so it can be absorbed by the soil.You will be amazed how much better your plants grow. But your pot plants will actually get even more water because with the long handle you can reach up or down and water the soil rather than the foliage. So much water is wasted using a standard nozzle because it just spashes off the foliage and runs away.

So what's the catch?

The Dramm 30" Rainwand costs $59.99 ( less your garden club discount) so it is 10 times dearer than the one you are using.

But this is what professional growers use around Australia because it makes their plants grow faster.

It is made from heavy duty aluminium so it will last you a life time.

The water flow is adjustable at the flick of your thumb. Come and try one!

My dad is getting one for Christmas.

Happy gardening